Services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Drive and many others have made it incredibly easy to store valuable work and documents online. These documents then can be accessed anywhere on many devices, creating huge convenience.
But does that level of convenience also pose a security risk? Is cloud storage safe? The answer isn’t a simple one. Data stored in the cloud is nearly always kept in an encrypted form that an intruder would need to crack. But cracking these codes isn’t impossible, and the risk of cloud hacking has frequently occurred since the popularization of such services.
There are simple steps any user of cloud-based storage can employ to increase their security. Read on, and we’ll discuss a few helpful tips that can make a huge difference.
Avoid Uploading Sensitive Information
Cloud-based storage can be helpful in transferring and storing all kinds of information and files. Sharing music, photos, paperwork, and many other forms of content is what makes the cloud so great.
These items are likely things that you would not be incredibly worried about if your account were hacked or tampered with. No doubt you would still not be pleased with the news, but there’s a slim chance that a hacker is going to do all that much with your Italy vacation photos.
You may have sensitive personal information or files that would be detrimental if released to the public. You may find yourself in a situation where you want to upload these files to the cloud. But a good rule of thumb is just to keep them off-line and stored somewhere locally.
Putting up documents containing personal information such as passwords, account numbers, credit cards number, or addresses is not advisable. If you do choose to put this information into the cloud, it is always wise to encrypt the data before upload for an extra measure of security.
Always Keep A Local Back-Up
Sometimes safe just means the continued existence and organization of our files and data. A good rule of thumb when it comes to data management, in general, is never to have just one copy of anything.
We put a lot of trust in companies and services when we upload to the cloud. Though it is rare, there is always a risk of corruption or even accidental deletion by a cloud-based service. And you do not want to experience the feeling of losing all your data.
That’s why it is advisable always to keep a copy of your data backed up locally somewhere in your home. This way, if the original of a file has been lost or corrupted for any reason, you’ll have a back-up you know you’ll be able to access. Having files backed up on a hard drive, or thumb drive means they’ll be safe from any online network related issues, and that you’ll still be able to access your files if the internet is down.
That being said, you could use a second cloud storage account somewhere as a backup account. The most important thing is that you have your files in more than one place, just in case.
Be Smart About Passwords
Obviously, someone being able to guess your password is a big security concern, especially if you re-use the same password for multiple services.
A good password should be unique to the service that you’re using it on. You should also, for increased security, be sure to change it frequently. If your cloud storage security allows it, you should definitely engage in two-step verification.
In two-step verification, a verification code is sent to your mobile phone and required to log in to your cloud-based service. Many major services offer two-step verification.
Use An Encrypting Cloud Service
Encryption of files requires decryption before access can be granted to any potential reader. Encryption typically even protects your data against the service providers and administrators themselves. A service that allows encryption to occur during upload would be the most secure form of the process.
If you’re working with a cloud storage system that doesn’t offer encryption, you could always encrypt your own files before upload. All you would need to do is download a cloud protection app, which will allow you to apply passwords and generate secret key sequences for your files.
This entire encryption process would take place before cloud upload, meaning your files would go up online with protections already in place.
Even if you are working with a service that provides online encryption, doing it yourself before the upload can create a robust double layer of protection. That double layer can give you a lot of extra assurance.
Is Cloud Storage Safe?
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